Chronic Lower Back Pain: 4 Things you Need to Know

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There are two types of lower back pain: acute and chronic. Chronic lower back pain is the most common type of the two and over 75% of Americans will experience it at some point in their life. There are many diagnoses, causes, and symptoms for chronic pain, but don’t get lost in all the details. There are some things you need to know in order to effectively reduce, prevent, and eliminate lower back pain from chronic conditions.

Chronic Lower Back Pain: 4 Things you Need to Know
Chronic Lower Back Pain via
Part of what makes chronic lower back problems so hard to treat is that there are hundreds of possible causes. Everything from your posture to the foods you eat can cause you to experience more or less pain throughout the day. The most common causes of chronic back discomfort are bad posture and irresponsible lifestyle decisions.

If you sit at a desk for many hours of the day, your posture can compound problems for your back in the long run. In terms of lifestyle decisions, smokers and overweight people are at much greater risk for chronic back pain.

Smoking can reduce your blood flow and constrict blood vessels throughout the body, causing tightness and muscle tension in areas all over the body, including the lumbar region of the back.

Being overweight reduces your muscle tone and also decreases circulation of the bloodstream, causing complications for regular bodily operations and muscle strength.

There are also some less foreseeable events that can lead to chronic lower back pain. Direct injuries to the spine or lumbar region and intense exertion can cause immediate pain that results in long-lasting discomfort.

Heavy lifting is a common source of back injuries, and muscles that are overly-tight or stiff can be injured by intense or sudden activity.

In some cases, something as benign as a sneeze can cause your back muscles to seize up and lead to long last muscle aches. In extreme cases, intense exertion can cause injuries to the spinal cord, like a slipped disc or herniated disc. These injuries cause the soft padding between spinal vertebrae to swell against the spinal cord, causing a pinching sensation or extreme discomfort.

There are also nerve disorders that can cause chronic pain, the most common of which is sciatica. For older people, osteoarthritis is also a very common source of stiffness or pain in the lumbar region.

There are several types of medication specifically designed to help alleviate muscle-related pains that commonly cause lower back pain. If your chronic back pain is a daily occurrence, it is best to use medication only when absolutely necessary, as there are risks associated with taking excessive amounts of pills.

Over-the-counter medicines include anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and acetaminophen-based pills like Tylenol. Heating pads and ice packs are also a great alternative to regularly swallowing pills.

The best treatment for chronic lower back pain is regular exercise. Improving your overall fitness will go a great length to reducing your symptoms of back pain. Focus on increasing flexibility in your legs, hip flexors, and lumbar region.

Aerobic exercise is the most favorable for improving your blood flow and reducing the fat content in your body. With a healthier system in general, the individual parts of your body will see improvements.

Back Specialists

For people that have tried everything, healthcare specialists that treat the spine and back are a great last resort. These specialists have a wide range of professional expertise, and some popular types of back doctors include chiropractors, acupuncturists, and some physical therapists.

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